Several years ago, my wealthy mother-in-law took a trip to China and came home with 3 shiny, gorgeous metal bowls, which appealed to her as a decorative curiosity. Lillian was, shall we say, an heiress, and had incredible taste in all things. The bowls looked beautiful in her well appointed home in Scarsdale.
Around 5,000 years ago, the ancient yogis began to lose their capacity to memorize the scriptures by word of mouth, and there became a need to write things down for future generations. The sage, Sri Patanjali, began the process of articulating the basic ideas about yoga in what has become known as the Yoga Sutras. Sutra has a similar meaning as suture, stitch. Patanjali threaded together the meerest inkling of the profound concepts on self-realization. A short work of four books with 196 sutras or aphorisms, the Sutras are the guidebook on how to control the mind and attain moksha, or liberation.
In previous blogs I spoke about Asana and Pranayama as being "pillars", or building blocks of a Big Yoga practice. I started with these more common concepts to begin this discussion of what makes up Big Yoga . But essential to any yoga practice are the ethical rules--yamas, and the good habits or observances--niyamas. The very first of the yamas is Ahimsa, or non-
Prana--the life force of the universe. In the far east, they say "chi". Hawaiians call it "ki". And, Yoda calls it "The Force".
We are all born with a finite supply of chi which gets depleted over time through aging, overexertion, bad habits. But there is an infinite supply of chi in the universe that we can bring into the body to boost our energy, focus the mind, and have more fun in life. Pranayama is the practice of breathwork that allows us to boost our chi. If you do nothing else, you'll love the effect
What is it about Big Yoga® that makes it different from other yoga styles? How did I come up with the name? How long have I been teaching Big Yoga?
I thought you might be interested in these questions.
Big Yoga is a spin off of Integral Yoga®, a yoga school started by Sri Swami Satchidananda. He came to us during the 60's from India, where he had studied
Think you're too old for starting up with Yoga? No way! I'm really grateful that I started learning yoga in the 60's when I was still in my twenties, but that doesn't mean folks my age can't start now!
There are so many adaptations we can learn when our bodies are a little older and stiffer. It's not too late for the Woodstock Generation to begin doing Yoga!
The Flex-Ability Series is something I plan to teach next month at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram Retreat in the Bahamas. We move every joint in the body, taking it through its full range of motion. The gentle movements tone and strengthen the muscles that support the joints,
Often when we think of Yoga, we picture model-thin, athletic women in trendy, expensive Yoga clothes, doing a vigorous physical practice designed to burn calories, increase muscle, and create the body beautiful. And, certainly, Yoga can give you that ideal, if that’s where you want to go with it. It’s not what the ancient yogis had in mind, who practiced the physical postures of yoga to increase flexibility and ease in the body in order to sit in meditation for long periods of time. 5,000 (or so) years ago, Yoga was about self-realization.
lMy family has a summer cottage in Southwest Michigan, right on the lake, where I’ve been spending summers since I was a child. It’s an idyllic site, private and serene, and I think I started meditating on the beach when I was very young.
Swimming was my saving grace back then, being a sport that I could excel in, even though I had what my father euphemistically called “baby fat”. (Boy did I hope he was right!) I wasn’t a fast runner, and was nearsighted to boot, so ball sports were not my forte. But I could swim!
I had never taken swimming lessons as a kid, and never really considered it it to be “exercise”. I had no absolutely technique. Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes, is really tremendous. It has waves and currents and undertow similar to that of an ocean. I usually swam with my head above water, to avoid getting a mouthful when the waves came crashing at me, because really, I was just playing.
This is the time of year we all set intentions--resolutions for a new you. Usually they're overridden by our innate laziness and human frailty, but there's a way to work on transformation that is more successful than a random wish for sobriety and weight loss.
In Yoga, we have the practice of Sankalpa. It's the taking of a vow, not simply for irradicating a bad habit, but to influence your whole life, by transforming you at the levels of not just the body or mind, but also spiritually and emotionally. Choose a phrase that will bring strength to the structure of the mind--a call to awakening! Try a short mental statement that will create a quickening of your evolution.
Meera Kerr B.A., E-RYT